Have you ever felt severe or nagging pain on the back of your foot specifically in the heel area? After a strenuous exercise or upon walking in the morning, do you feel a sharp pain at the foot where your Achilles tendon is attached? Maybe you have an Achilles Tendinopathy that needs to be checked. And with the Foot and Ankle Section at the AHMC, you can have a comprehensive consult from proper diagnosis to different treatment options for your heel pain.

Achilles tendinopathy is a painful condition that occurs commonly in active and even inactive individuals. It is a confluence of tendon disorders, specifically the Achilles Tendon, which has multiple suggested pathologies. If there is a clinical presence of pain and swelling of the Achilles Tendon, this is called Achilles Tendinitis. While an Achilles Tendinosis is a degenerative process of the tendon without clinical signs of inflammation but still causes severe pain at its insertion.  Though with different terminologies, both can still lead to a tear of the Achilles Tendon if left untreated.

The reasons for the development of Achilles tendinopathy remains unclear, but there are many theories as to the cause of the disease which include overuse, decreased blood supply and tensile strength with aging, muscle imbalance or weakness, insufficient flexibility (lack of stretching exercises), and even malalignment of the foot. Some also suggest that genetics, endocrine disorders, and free radical production can also produce tendinopathy.

Treatment for this condition varies but it always start with conservative management like taking anti-inflammatory medications, rest and application of cold compress.  Physical therapy is also an alternative where the goal is to stretch the Achilles Tendon and calf to prevent tightness.  Other minimally invasive treatment that can be used include Platelet Rich Plasma injection or Shockwave Therapy. If all conservative treatment fails, surgery should be contemplated and this includes shaving and debridment or excision of the affected tendon with reattachment to the heel.            The Foot and Ankle Section of the Department of Orthopedics are all internationally trained to deal with this condition.  Let us explain to you the details of this bothersome pain so we can prevent the complication of an Achilles Tendon tear.

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